For other nations, the year 2020 may be remembered by the pandemic. For America, it will be remembered as one of the greatest wars we have fought for our soul and sovereignty. The many battlefields are both in front of our very eyes as well as within our very hearts, seen with the eyes of the soul. It is a war fought in the fields of perception, memory, imagination, pride, words.
Within the American church, we seem to be caught up in a game of spiritual whack-a-mole. In the arcade game, the player bludgeons each mole with a sledgehammer as he pops up his head from the ground. The more moles hit, the more moles surface and at an increasing rate of speed.
In the spiritual life, what doesn’t happen is as important to notice as that which does take place. Silence is its own type of ‘whack’ and perhaps a more deadly one. Let us follow the example of St. John Paul II in a transformation of conscience. As he told the Polish people: look around you. You are not alone.
Grandparents day is September 13. This year, too many of our loved ones are in lockdown within their retirement communities. Many times, President Trump has voiced his sincere concern for the depression people have suffered under lockdown, particularly by our elders. Unfortunately, the dignity and needs of the elderly is being ignored by the media and their wisdom is only captured when it promotes the goals of social engineering.
Meanwhile, the lived experience of the American people is a multi-generational dynamic. Older family members begin the process of aging, dementia and Alzheimer’s while their spouses and adult children grasp to make sense of this changing inter-relational dynamic.
A look into aging, aided by the wisdom of the saints.
Reflecting upon marriage and families, it became clear that when couples divorce, they give up on Hope. At some point, their own natural optimism isn’t sufficient to sustain the marriage. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US was in epidemics of depression, anxiety and loneliness. Suicide was the 2nd highest killer of our youth and young adults. A significant number of depressed teens said they had no adult in the home to talk to. Meanwhile divorce rates ranges from 40-80% depending upon the population and cohabitation—lack of commitment altogether—is on the rise. While some sort of family unit remains, family unity risks extinction.
Many people are currently in despair having ‘hoped’ to regain their pre-pandemic lifestyle. Yet with all this said, do we really want to return to our old way of living?
Thinking about it, we’ve all had one of those moments where the Holy Spirit touched us through words spoken by another person. You are unexpectedly struck with a feeling of confirmation, or conversely feel convicted in your choices. Talking with a Holy monk one day, he said Jesus is the Word become flesh in these moments. When others speak His inspired Word, Jesus is made flesh to me.
How do I react to Jesus made flesh to me?
Often coming to mind is a photo I saw several years back when ISIS was first mounting their heightened persecution of Christians in Syria. It was a group of children with bold smiles on their faces. Arms outstretched, palms down, they proudly showed the backs of their hands. Every child had the Cross tattooed on their hand. As villages in the region were being brutally ravaged, for them this was the mark of death. They were going to let their future killers know they belonged to Christ.
They kept their sights on the end-game. Do we?